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Road Trip! Destination: Pocono Mountains

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'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Sunday, Jan. 29, 2012
 

The Pocono Mountains in northeastern Pennsylvania offer the perfect place to take a retreat and enjoy the delights of a winter wonderland, with 2,400 square miles of mountains, lakes, rivers, waterfalls, woodlands and snow activities such as skiing, snowboarding and snow tubing.

The snow-frosted scenery during the winter can be breathtaking. And during Valentine's Day week, the many cozy, intimate rooms at inns, hotels and resorts give lovebirds a great place to enjoy an escape from the city.

First, figure out where you and your partner are going to stay in the Poconos, and then, enjoy the scenic drive from Pittsburgh.

Details: www.800poconos.com .

Sweetheart specials

A romantic winter retreat with your valentine -- what could be better• Many resorts and hotels in the Poconos are offering special packages for couples for the week of Valentine's Day, on or around Feb. 14.

• Chateau Resort & Conference Center, in Tannersville, is offering the Saint Valentine's Day Lovers Retreat from Feb. 14-15, with rates starting at $250. You'll get champagne, strawberries and cream, a romantic four-course dinner and a breakfast for two. If you just want the four-course meal, the cost is additional $50. Details: 800-245-5900 or www.chateauresort.com .

• At Fernwood Hotel and Resort, you and your partner can get the Sweetheart Slide Valentine's Weekend Package for rates starting at $179.50 per person, per night, on the weekend of Feb. 10-12. You'll get villa accommodations with a whirlpool, a $25 gift card for a lovers platter at a restaurant, and two snow-tubing passes to the Fernwood Winter Fun Center. Details: 570-588-9500 or fernwoodhotel.com .

• Do you want rose petals sprinkled on your bed• Check out the Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort, in Shawnee on Delaware, where the Valentine's Day Package Feb. 13-15 includes romantic accents like the roses, champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries, along with breakfast in bed and dinner. Rates are $169 per person at the inn; If you want to upgrade to the Legacy Suites, the price is $199 per person. Details: 570-424-4000 or shawneeinn.com .

• If you and your honey enjoy going out dancing, try the "My Darling Valentine" festival, held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 14 at the Best Western Inn at Hunt's Landing, Matamoras. For $38 per person, you get a breakfast and dinner buffet, and dancing to live entertainment with a disc jockey. Details: 570-491-2400.

Spa pampering

A rejuvenating, sensual retreat has to include pampering at a spa, like with a couples' massage, facials and more. The Poconos region offers numerous pampering spas. Imagine viewing the mountainous terrain out the window while a masseuse rubs your tension away. Ahh. Try one of these destination spas in the area.

• Laurel Spa at Pocono Manor Resort, Pocono Manor. Details: 570-839-0140 or www.laurelspaatpoconomanor.com

• The Lodge At Woodlock, Hawley. It stands on 75 acres and includes a private lake, and guest rooms with verandas. Details: 570-685-8500 or www.thelodgeatwoodlock.com

• The Spa at Mount Airy, Mount Pocono. Details: 570-243-5230 or www.thespaatmountairy.com

• Skyview Spa at Skytop Lodge, Skytop. Details: 570-595-8968 or skyviewspaatskytoplodge.com

• Spa Shawnee and Salon, Shawnee on Delaware. 570-424-4000 or www.shawneeinn.com

• The Spa at Stroudsmoor by Shear Design, Stroudsburg. Details: 570-421-6431 or www.stroudsmoor.com

Outdoor winter activities

In the Poconos, you can ski along more than 185 slopes and trails, with hills for every skill level from the gentle beginner's slope to the double-black-diamond, steep moguls. In addition to skiing, snow tubing and snowboarding are available at most resorts.

• Alpine Mountain Ski & Snow Tubing Center, Analomink. Details: 570-595-2150 or www.alpinemountain.com

• Jack Frost Mountain, Blakeslee. Details: 570-443-8425 or www.jfbb.com

• Blue Mountain Ski Area, Palmerton. Details: 877-754-2583 or www.skibluemt.com

• Camelback Mountain Resort, Tannersville. Details: 800-233-8100 or www.skicamelback.com

• Shawnee Mountain, Shawnee on Delaware. Details: 800-233-4218 or www.shawneemt.com

• Ski Big Bear, Lackawaxen. Details: 570-685-1400 or www.ski-bigbear.com

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